Quick-takes: Mandatory Attendance

Mandatory Attendance Takes A One-Size-Fit-All Approach to Education

A college degree certifies that a student has acquired the skills and knowledge necessary to be considered a professional in a particular field; it is not a measure of how good they are at guessing clicker questions in 8 a.m. lectures. These days, the reason for pursuing higher education is significantly more utilitarian than looking for academic fulfillment, often coming from the desire to get a job in a market that increasingly demands more and more out of applicants. Along with this shift in purpose, there has been a decided shift in pricing, with the cost of education skyrocketing through the past two decades. By making attendance and participation in a lecture a part of the grade, professors are demonstrating a fundamental disconnect from the modern student. Oftentimes people work, some people have families, and some people don’t learn well in traditional classroom settings; to hold students accountable for attending lecture carries the connotation that they have nothing else to do when a lot of students are riddled with responsibilities in all realms of their life.

Although often absences are due to other responsibilities people may have, it is also demoralizing to make it to lecture and have our award-winning faculty reading off of powerpoint presentations. If professors are unable to get a large enough crowd to satiate their academic egos, they should consider changing their lecture style to being more engaging, making students more willing to prioritize attending. Although our faculty is comprised of experts in their respective fields, their pedagogical skills often leave a lot to be desired; a great lecturer does not mean a great teacher. Why should students be forced to attend lectures that don’t benefit them, for the sake of participation credits.

Attending lecture that doesn’t benefit students applies even when professors are good at teaching because some students just don’t learn in traditional classroom settings. These students spend lecture spacing out or taking notes that they’ll later have to supplement with hours of independent learning because the lecture was not enough for them. People pay tuition in order to have the right to be evaluated for the material a class covers, and although there is an option for getting the material from an educator, that is not the only way people can learn.

 ADRIANA BARRIOS, Senior Staff Writer

Mandatory Attendance Ensures that Students Take Full Advantage of the Resources Professors Provide

Attending college as a full-time student is a lot like having a job: Both have responsibilities in and out of the office. One of those responsibilities is actually showing up to perform whatever function the position requires. While an employee differs from a student in that one is paid and the other pays, both have no reason for taking up a particular position if they are not willing to meet the expectations of those positions. Professors have a rhyme and reason for mandating attendance. In order for a student to learn, they must be exposed to all the information that a course seeks to instruct. Lecture and discussion are the mediums by which this occurs. While it is decidedly true that the same information exists in the form of textbooks and online resources, students pay such egregious fees in tuition that the actual value lies in the direct instruction from experts in the field. This is especially true in the context of UC San Diego, which abounds with researchers in their respective fields. Not only do these academics progenate information that cannot be found on some obscure webpage, but they know better than any others which skills and which pieces of knowledge are most integral to entering the modern workforce at high-level positions. A student radically aggravates the educational process by trying to filter the heavy flow of information that may or may not factor into their success in the current field. They may not be entirely aware that skipping class causes longer-lasting stress on their education by limiting that direct instruction, or they may have some scheduling conflict that prohibits their attendance at times; either way, mandatory attendance systems should allow for a few absences. A lot factors into student life, but this simple compromise compels students to take advantage of the resources that exist distinctly on college campuses, namely professors’ knowledge and experiences. Ideally, though, this compromise should not have to be compelled; to leave resources untouched defeats the purpose of opting into a program with such high fees. If the primary purpose of becoming a student is to gain the knowledge necessary to move into the desired field, then students need to accept that attendance is integral to reaching that goal.